‘Elephantmen 2261: Holiday Special’ — The First of Its Kind

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Season’s Greetings!

“I want a hippopotamus for Christmas, but Elephantmen 2261: Holiday Special will do.

Don’t want a doll, no dinkey tinker toy. ComiXology has comics I can read for free. Oh, Joy!”

Alright, maybe that isn’t exactly the way that song goes, but with ComiXology Originals releasing Elephantmen 2261: Holiday Special, I’m thinking maybe a little change is in order. Elephantmen 2261: Holiday Special will be the first-ever Elephantmen holiday issue by the longtime creative team of writer/letterer Richard Starkings and artist/colorist Axel Medellin. This lovely gem includes a stunning cover by Boo Cook and a holiday backup story by Richard Starkings and Superfreaks artist Margaux Saltel. It also precedes the January 2019 release of Elephantmen 2261 (ComiXology Originals) Vol. 1: The Death of Shorty which collects issues one through five of Elephantmen 2261: The Death of Shorty.

Elephantmen has been described by J.J. Abrams as “An awesome and unexpected story. You must check it out!” and lauded by Andy Serkis as “Bold, mythic and heartbreakingly cool, Starkings’ universe is a breed apart!” ~Source ComiXology

What Are Elephantmen?

Not familiar with Elephantmen? Elephantmen are human/animal hybrids designed to fight a war. But the war is over, and now they live among us. The Elephantmen series debuted nearly 15 years and 80 issues ago from Image Comics.

Two hundred or so years in the future, the MAPPO Corporation breeds human/animal hybrids in a secure, top secret facility somewhere in North Africa with the intent of building soldiers and assassins. This brutal and inhumane process involves implanting hybrid embryos into the wombs of kidnapped local women. The hybrid embryos draw from African animal species including warthogs, elephants, camels, zebras, rhinos, hippos, giraffes, hyenas, and crocodiles. The mothers who are treated as nothing more than organic incubators give birth to the hybrids. Women who survive the birth are disposed of afterward.

Headed by the misanthropic and megalomaniacal Japanese scientist, Dr Kazushi Nikken, MAPPO indoctrinates these hybrids with an Orwellian mindset designed to make them think of themselves as MAPPO property. The goal is to remove the capacity for free thought and create loyal, well-trained, combat-ready MAPPO servants. They are called Elephantmen.

Each child is branded after birth marking them as the property of MAPPO. Hip Flask’s scar is distorted so that “Hippopotamus Hybrid Flask #7A” instead reads just “Hip Flask #7A”, hence his name. Hip Flask dared to ask questions during his childhood education, an act for which he was placed in solitary confinement.

Then came the U.N. troops. After a bloody battle between the U.N. troops and MAPPO’s Elephantmen, the Elephantmen were liberated. Through rehabilitation, they were eventually released to establish their own lives in the outside world.

What’s Elephantmen 2261: Holiday Special About?

Hip Flask’s fellow Information Agent, Vanity Case, lost her father when she was just a child… and Hip’s friends Savannah, Hunter, and Jet lost their grandfather just over a year ago. In Elephantmen 2261: Holiday Special, Hip decides it is his job to cheer them up for the holidays…

But that’s not all. This stand-alone one-shot includes a special holiday short story outside of the Elephantmen universe written by Richard Starkings with art by Margaux Saltel (Superfreaks) titled, “MARZIPAN!” about a little alien who meets a little girl. Girl falls in love with little alien. Alien falls in love with Marzipan. Little girl loses little alien!

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Creative Team

Richard Starkings is also the creator/writer of Ask for Mercy and co-creator of The Beef with Tyler Shainline and Shaky Kane. In the course of a distinguished career in comic books, Richard edited for Marvel UK in the ’80s and founded the lettering studio Comicraft in the ’90s. He has worked as a lettering artist on just about every comic book you might care to mention, including Batman: The Killing Joke, and has written for The Real Ghostbusters, Zoids, Transformers, and Doctor Who.

Axel Medellin has been creating art for the Elephantmen series since 2010 and is probably meeting a deadline right now. Nevertheless, he has somehow managed to fit in drawing and coloring other comics for HEAVY METAL, Zenescope, BOOM! Studios, and Image Comics’ 50 Girls 50 with Frank Cho.

Boo Cook studied at art college in Cambridge. In the year 2000 AD he approached the British comics weekly 2000 AD and was soon drawing Judge Dredd, Judge Anderson, ABC Warriors, Harry Kipling, Asylum, and Blunt for the Judge Dredd Megazine. Boo has illustrated for Titans’ Doctor Who and created covers for Marvel including Wolverine. Boo is a talented musician and performs with his bands, Forktail and Motherbox.

Margaux Saltel graduated with a degree in Fine Arts in 2011. She has established herself as a kidlit and comic book artist since 2014, mainly in Europe. More recently, she started collaborating with American publishers on comic book covers (Z2 Comics’ Welcome to Showside and The Sweetness, BOOM! Studios, and IDW.)

Where Can I Get It?

Elephantmen 2261: Holiday Special will not be available until December 12, 2018, but you can pre-order it. Also, keep in mind that both Elephantmen 2261: The Death of Shorty issues 1-5 and Elephantmen 2261: Holiday Special are included in Prime Reading, Kindle Unlimited, and comiXology Unlimited at no additional cost. For those of you that prefer to own your comics, both Elephantmen 2261: The Death of Shorty issues 1-5 and Elephantmen 2261: Holiday Special are available for purchase only on ComiXology and Kindle.

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